Rishikesh is the gateway to the Himalayas in the tehri- Garhwal region, Uttarakhand. It is situated at a height of about 1360 feet above sea level.The serene surroundings of this place make it an ideal setting for medition. The town is dotted with countless ashrams. The sparkling clear water of the Ganga is a treat to watch as it gushes down the narrow crevices of the mountains to unite with the plains. For the adventure sport lovers Rishikesh is a delight. Rishikesh, the very name conjures up images of resonating bells, holy dips, soaring hills and gushing river Ganges in the mind of an individual. Situated on the banks of the holy Ganga River, the town is regarded as the Gateway to the Char Dhams (four major Hindu pilgrimages) – Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri. It is believed to be the place where meditation can help one attain moksha (salvation). Apart from pilgrims, the town is thronged by adventure aficionados and nature lovers, who come entranced by the challenging streams and towering peaks that form it landscape. Rishikesh is also famous for the sadhus (saints) and people come here to learn Yoga from them. Today it is universally accepted that Yoga is a great alternative therapy. Thousands of people come here to practice this healing art.
How to Get There
Nearest domestic airport: The jolly grant Airport, near Dehra dun, is about 17 km from Rishikesh
By Road: connected well by road, Rishikesh has busese plying to Haridwar, Agra, Chandigarh, Dehra Dun, Delhi and Nainital. The bus terminus, UP Roadways Bus stand, is located at the junction of agarwal Road and Bengali Road.
Rail: The Dehra Dun shatabdi Express is the best way to reach Haridwar from Delhi. The Dehra Dun Mumbai Express and Dehra Dun Varansi expess also ply to Haridwar. Calcutta and Allahabad are connected to Haridwar by the Doon Expess and Dehra Dun-Allahabad link Expess. The railways station is located on Railway Road in the west end of the town.
Lakshman Jhula and Ram Jhula: It is one of the most prominent landmarks at Rishikesh. This is a suspended bridge and was built in the year 1929. According to the beliefs, the river at this place is said to have been crossed by Rama’s brother Lakshman using a jute rope. To savor the panoramic views of the surroundings and the cool breeze, this bridge is an ideal spot.
Triveni Ghat: Triveni Ghat: as the name suggests, is a bathing ghat in Rishikesh. It serves as the venue of a Maha Arti every day. Early in the morning as well as late in the evening, you will find pilgrims taking a dip in the holy waters of the ghat.
Swarga Ashram: Swarga Ashram is a huge complex in Rishikesh, popular for housing several temples within its precincts. Throughout the complex, you can see magnificent statues of various Gods and Goddess. The ashram also comprises of a number of eating joints, apart from souvenir and other shops.
Neelkanth Mahadev: Situated on the outskirts of Rishikesh, around 12 km away, is a revered temple, known as ‘Nilkanth Mahadeo’. Perched on top of a hill, at a height of around 1675 m, the temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Legends say that the venom that oozed out while the ‘Samudra Manthan’ was ingested by Lord Shiva at the place which is now known as the Nilkanth Mahadeo.
Rishikund: Rishikund is a tank in Rishikesh, considered to be scared by the pilgrims. As per the legends, Goddess Yamuna filled this tank with water, after being pleased with Kubz, a saint.
Adventure at Rishikesh
White water river rafting Rishikesh is a delightful spot for white water rafting. Rishikesh & Shivpuri are the main centrs of white water rafting in north India. The river rafting is based about 20 kms away from Rishikesh on the Rishikesh – Devprayag road. The camps situated along the river Ganges provide accommodation in natural and serene surroundings, nature treks, camp fire activities etc.
Camping : Holidaying in camps give adenture lovers a new thrill. Situated at the foothills of the Himalayas, 16 km from rishikesh, the campsite is set up amidst scenic splendor by the holy Gangs River and is girdlid by a thick sal forest. Tourists can enjoy diverse adventure activities during the stay in the camp like-rafting , rappelling , nature walk, bird waching in the surrounding areas, Kayaking on a peaceful stretch near the camp, Beach games like volley ball, Frisbee, water polo etc.
Hiking & Trekking: From rishikesh, several excursion options are also available. Tourists can check out the rajaji National park at chilla, the historical town of narendra nagar and the picturesque kunjapuru.
Rock-Climbing/Mountaineering: This adventure sport is carried out at George Everest house phoolchatti near Rishikesh. There are proper provisions, like traind instructors who assist in climbing. Equipment required for mountaineering/ rock climbing with transport facilities and camping/catering and first aid are also available.
WHERE TO EAT
Rishikesh is strictly vegetarian and you can’t carry meat or alcohol into the town. But restaurateurs have learnt to innovate due to the rush of foreign tourists. Continental vegetarian dishes are widely available at the cafes overlooking Laxman Jhula , so you can order great lasagna ,banana lassi or pancakes. For those who can’t do without Indian masala, Chotiwala near Ram Jhula serves decent North Indian staples at Madras Café. Do also visit Amrita House near the boat jetty. Theur pizzas, topped with homemade buffalo cheese, are very popular.